2016 Drug Trends in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is known as Sin City for a reason. Say hello to the hub of gambling, drugs and drinking. With a population of over half a million, the city that never sleeps is bound to have some pretty interesting facts when it comes to drug trends.
A quick look at some of the statistics on federal websites is enough to reveal that Las Vegas is a serious hub for drug traffickers and dealers. It isn’t hard to understand why there is also such a high crime rate (67,174 people convicted per year) and 120,000 people in courts over drug related issues every year. Crime, violence and drugs go hand-in-hand.
Drug related suicide rates are also at their highest in Las Vegas at 34.5 people per 100,000. This figure is three times the national rate.
Most Common Drugs in the Atomic City
People who want to have a good time as far as drugs are concerned come to Las Vegas. Marijuana is unsurprisingly the most widely used drug – but meth is number one when it comes to ease of access and low cost. Right behind meth is heroin and crack. Not too surprisingly, there is rampant abuse of prescription drugs.
Medical marijuana was made legal in the year 2000, but it’s only been recently in 2015 that most medical dispensaries started selling the controversial drug. In order to purchase the drug, you have to be 21 years and older and show government-issued ID. A gram of medical marijuana can be bought for anywhere between $10 and $30 depending on the quality, grade and strain.
Carrying more than an ounce of pot can land you a $600 fine. Being caught a second time will lead to drug addiction screening and a $1000 fine. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or umpteenth time, but if you are found in possession of more than 2 ounces of weed, you stand to face jail time of up to 4 years.
‘Ice’ meth currently sits as the number one drug of all time in South Nevada and is no stranger to the clubs and streets of Las Vegas. Meth is popular because it has the ability to give its users highs of up to 24 hours. It is most commonly trafficked across the border from Mexico and is readily available at a price of $60 per gram, $40 per half gram and $20 for ¼ of a gram. Good progress is being made against the drug with an increase in the number of meth busts that have been carried out in the city. The numbers of seizures occurring at the border have gone up by 270%.
Las Vegas boasts drugs that will be hard to find anywhere else in the country. Take for example, the very rare Mexican black tar heroin, the most popular heroin type available in the state of Nevada. In 2010, the drug cost $20/0.20grams. Today, an ounce of Mexican tar heroin costs anywhere between $850 – $1000 for purity levels between 33 and 67%. This type of heroin is readily available because of the close ties Las Vegas has with Mexican drug cartels and other suppliers in South America.
Oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, is another favorite among users, and in the last ten years, its per capita sales have gone up 366%. Oxycodone however, is also the leading prescription painkiller linked to more than 23% of all drug overdose death cases. Hot on its heels was hydrocodone which also saw increased sales of up to 233%.
Pharmacies in Las Vegas have had to take up stringent measures to protect themselves against desperate users who have taken to breaking-in and stealing prescription medication.
There are more people entering rehab with a meth problem than any other drug in Las Vegas. The rate of those going into Las Vegas rehabs was 10% more than the entire country’s average.
Teenage Drug Problems in Las Vegas
Teenagers in the city are not immune to the drug epidemic and are oftentimes caught in the middle. Popular parties where drugs end up coming out are known as ‘Pharm Parties’. At these in-house parties, teenagers go into their parent’s medicine cabinets and steal prescription pills. These pills are then all placed into one bowl before minors start using them.
Other popular drugs at these parties also include weed and bath salts.
It is despicable to even imagine this, but according to the US Government drug departments, drug lords in the city have been attempting to broaden their distribution heroin networks by entering the high school market, especially the more affluent high schools in the area.
Drugs that can be found readily in clubs include LSD, MDMA and GHB. You will find these at all the major hang-out places, clubs, and rave parties. What makes it difficult to track the sale of these drugs is that they can be sold from one person to the next, or to a sole person who will be present at a rave party.
Las Vegas, because of the nature of the city where bars and clubs are open all through the night, makes for an efficient city to transship drugs and act as a distribution place for the rest of the country. When a city has no curfew and has a 24 hour open policy, keeping track of anything becomes very difficult, even for the already overworked law enforcement agents.
When all is said and done, Las Vegas’s alluring flashing lights and extravagant shows are all just that – shows. What many fail to then realize is that there is an entire million dollar drug network at play behind closed doors. There are narcotics that keep the entire place running. Without them, it would be interesting to see how much of Las Vegas would still survive.